18 hours in Dubai (as it happened in early July 2013)

After an eventful trip to Sydney I flew back to Denmark through Dubai and had arranged for a long layover in order to give myself a micro-vacation before heading back to work.

So after a 14 hour flight I found myself in Dubai airport excited to get out an explore. However my excitement didn’t last too long as I was waiting to pass through immigrations. I have occasionally complained about other airports and their less than perfect handling of certain things… I’m looking at you CPH and your luggage handling. That now seems like the smoothest experience after Dubai. In line in front of me was around 15 people, yet it still took about 45 min to get to the front of the line. Oh and my line was quick compared to some of the others. Makes me wonder what’s going on here! Anyway once I cleared immigrations I headed for the hotel shuttle to whisk me away to my very modest (for Dubai standards) accommodation for the night.
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To my surprise the view from my room was not too bad. I could even see one of the days goals in the distance.
I grabbed a quick lunch at the hotel buffet. Nothing spectacular, but a meal’s a meal, especially when you plan to venture out for a long day in 32-40 degree Celsius weather.
Instead of rushing to the new and flashy, I headed to the older part of town to check out the street life around the spice and gold souks. It didn’t quite have the charm and smells that I was expecting and there was a visible influx of tourists, which have put their mark on these markets.
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However some of the charm still remains and the older architectural elements can still be found, such as this old style cooling tower for the spice market.
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In an attempt to find a more untouched part of these markets I started veering down side streets, until men no longer came out of their shops to offer me copy watches and bags. This turned out to be a good choice as I found the real spice merchants whose shops were simple storefronts with a single desk and bags upon bags of spices spilling out into the street adding a distinct aroma of saffron to the warm summer air.
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It was also down these side streets that I managed to get a glimpse of what life seems to be like for the working man in Dubai.
After this small whiff of the less touristy side of town, I decided it was time to explore the newer, shinier, Las Vegasy area surrounding Burj Al Khalifa. Riding the high tech metro to get there, the city seems to stretch out as if the city itself was one big airstrip. Along the 10 lane highway are single buildings, one larger and more intimidating than the other, with only empty plots of land ready for development breaking up the monotony. I can see why some liken the city to Las Vegas with its never ending attempt to one-up the neighbouring building.
The crowning achievement in this race is the Burj Al Khalifa, the worlds tallest building. Towering over the Dubai Fountain and Dubai Mall each one also the biggest and baddest in their own field.
Going out of the metro you are carried straight into the heart of the Dubai Mall. Finding my way in here suddenly makes navigating the backstreets of Hong Kong look like child’s play. Walking through this gargantuan place it is hard not to get lured in by the sheer shimmer and showmanship these shops display. But having promised myself to get a glimpse of the BAK before the sun sets, I tell myself I can always come back later to the shops I pass along the way… If I’m able to find them again!
Just as I exit the mall I am greeted by the first of the evenings fountain shows.
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It is truly a majestical sight and the show is deservedly finished with a round of applause from the many onlookers.
Once the show is over I am left with a view that could as easily have been taken out of either LA or Miami, so I quickly snap a photo and put it through a few filters and voila!

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I doubt anyone would notice the difference.
But no matter, as this isn’t the reason I’m here. I’m here to see what the tallest building in the world looks like, and boy is it tall.
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After staring at this Tower of Babel like structure I snapped a few photos and then stared some more before succumbing to the heat. I turned around and walked back into the belly of the beast that is Dubai Mall.
I wondered restlessly for a few hours and managed to see about half of the place, including the huge indoor aquarium and this strangely exhilarating water sculpture.
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Having walked through what seemed like the better part of a medium sized town I turned back to the metro and headed back to the hotel for a beer by the pool and yet another mediocre meal before heading for bed.

New photo theme trial [Updatedx3]

Found a new theme that I really like. It’s supposed to be a portfolio website, but I will try and make it work none the less. However I am very curious to see if Flickr is able to integrate seamlessly into it or not. So here goes. Another piece of street art found in London.

[Update 1]
So it seems I can’t actually get the themes thumbnail auto-generator to work. At least not with images that are sourced from outside the blog… in this instance Flickr.

[Update 2]
I am now trying to upload a photo to my own server to see if that changes anything…

[Update 3] It would seem that the solution is to actually upload the image to the media library. What a letdown! It most certainly defeats one of the reasons to move everything to Flickr or a similar service. Any suggestions or tips and tricks?

Integrating/changing to Flickr

In an attempt to avoid loosing all my photos once again when my hard drive unavoidably goes south I’ve decided to give Flickr a chance as my main photo storage/sharing. So far I haven’t reached the limit for a free account but I guess it’s just a matter of time. Especially since I’m contemplating uploading everything that I want to keep.

Main purpose of this post therefore is to 1) share the link to my photostream and 2) test photo integration in WordPress posts.

1) The address to my photostream is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/esbentheisjensen/

2) To test integration I’ve chosen to share this photo I took while in London of a Banksy piece I passed on the street.

New Banksy in London


I just realized that tonight is supermoon night, so I decided to head out with my camera and tripod to get some shots of the moon. What I failed to realize was, that the moon was so high in the night sky when I headed out, that even if it is 14% larger than usual, it wasn’t visible at all. So instead I decided to play around with longer exposure on a couple of scenes. There’s been no post-production done on these photos. Might try that a little later though. But for now please enjoy these three shots.

Fra Experiment
Fra Experiment
Fra Experiment

On and about the supermoon. Seems the moon sets at around 5 tonight. I guess I’ll go have a look at it before I go to sleep.

Playing with photos and tilt-shift again

A couple of weeks ago I went out to Manly beach and took a long walk. Throughout the day I managed to snap quite a few interesting photos (in my own opinion anyway).

Here are two which haven’t been tampered with, as I felt they were decent enough in their own.

Fra Artsy attempts
Fra Artsy attempts

I also worked on a few in TiltShift, previously described, and ended up with a few interesting pics from the ferry back to Sydney.

Fra Tilt-shift
Fra Tilt-shift
Fra Tilt-shift

Panoramic accidents

I recently installed AutoStitch on my iPhone. The app let’s you create panoramas and works pretty well (besides the occasional ghosting effects). It’s had some unintended side effects though. By taking the vast amounts of photos needed for the panoramas I have ended up with some random and sometimes really interesting shots.


Taking to heart what Mark commented on my last tilt-shift photo I have tried working a bit more on some other photos I had lying around.

Some where quite good, others not so much. I have made a album on Picasa dedicated to my tilt-shifting experiments, which you can find here:

Of the photos I messed with this one from Westernland in Tokyo Disneyland is my favourite one so far.

Fra Tilt-shift

Mark has also started to mess with tilt-shifting bit here on his photography blog: http://morsi.eu/2009/09/september-of-iphone-photography/